I’ve worked in male-dominated industries before and the inequality and way I was treated after having a baby was beyond disappointing. As my maternity leave was coming to an end, my position conveniently disappeared, and there was absolutely no support for me to return to employment. Where I worked was certainly not one of the best places to work in Australia.
But, I’ve also worked in non-male dominated industries, and the inequality was still rife. I shared a #meetoo hashtag in the Mee Too campaign because I too was sexually harassed by a CEO. Wherever I’ve worked, men have always had the power.
Being a work from home mum for the last six years means I’ve been somewhat oblivious to what still happens in the workplace but, I’m pretty sure the inequality is still happening. This push for gender parity is a slow one, even for the big corporates.
As a mother of a daughter, I do hope that by the time she has to work, the glass ceiling has well and truly been shattered. Unfortunately, it’s been taking far too long a time for the crack actually to break.
Which country is the best place to be a working woman?
Earlier this year, The Economist reported the best and worst places to be a working woman with Australia being ranked number 16 out of 29 countries. That’s pretty disappointing if you ask me. Factors involved in the ranking include educational attainment, labour-market attachment, pay, child-care costs, maternity and paternity rights, business-school applications and representation in senior jobs.
The good news is that there are companies supporting women, who are (or have) banished the pay gap and are working towards more women in leadership roles. If only everyone could get on board!
Some of the best places to work in Australia if you’re a woman.
Deloitte’s Senior Partner and Diversity & Inclusion leader, Margaret Dreyer, said, “Whether it is assisting working mothers in coming back to work, ensuring female job seekers receive an equal opportunity recruitment process, or by helping people who may be experiencing domestic and family abuse – our message and objective is clear: we want our women to feel valued and respected so that they are empowered to achieve and succeed without unfair barriers holding them back.”
Deloitte Australia has received the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) Employer of Choice for Gender Equality citation since 2003 and supports women with flexible work arrangements, 18 weeks paid parental leave, career breaks and professional development opportunities and support.
Deloitte also introduced the Return to Work Program which has a particular focus on women. It’s designed to help workers re-enter the workforce after a prolonged break of two or more years. For women at a manager or director level, this program broadens talent at senior levels.
PwC was the first private Australian professional services firm to go public with both the Partner and employee pay gap and now claim to have a 0% pay gap for like-for-like roles. They are also very mindful of supporting women, particularly those concerned about opportunities for advancement after taking time to raise a family.
PwC offers flexibility and support with an All Roles Flex Policy where workers can create their own schedule, a progressive 18-week Parental Leave Policy where there is no minimum amount of time you have to work for the company. You can purchase 12 weeks of leave if you need it, there are mentoring, coaching and leadership programs as well as a family and domestic violence policy including ten days leave.
At PwC they are focused on closing the leadership gap by helping women to succeed. Can I also add they have free barista coffee, no dress code, bonus and profit share, referral bonuses and health and fitness perks?
AECOM Australia Pty Ltd
In 2017, AECOM launched term-time only contracts for working parents because they noticed many qualified engineers and scientists had left the company because it was impossible to balance work and caring for their children.
Working mums know the strain of school holidays all too well and obviously, so do AECOM. This term-time only contract allows workers to spend all 12 weeks of the school holidays caring for their children while receiving a monthly pro-rata salary. AMAZING! The management at AECOM are clever and recognised the reason why talented people were disappearing, talented women who usually have to sacrifice career for family.
In addition to covering school holidays, AECOM has a strong Gender Diversity Strategy which embraces flexibility for all team members, aims to increase gender diversity in the workforce and leadership teams, become industry leaders in attracting, developing an managing a diverse workforce. They’ve certainly stuck to their word and managed to increase their female leaders by 25% in 12 months with a commitment to having 20% female leadership by 2020.
KPMG like to put trust in their staff and embrace flexible work arrangements, believing that no matter where they work, as long as they can get their work done. KPMG has a Family Support for YOU program which includes emergency and ad-hoc child care, pre-parental leave and return to work workshops, access to reference tools, parent forums and seminars, school holiday programs and online support service for sourcing childcare and eldercare. And that’s not all. KPMG offer up to 18 weeks paid parental leave for primary carers, including adoption and fostering. They also offer three weeks paid leave for non-primary carers.
Things are looking good for gender equity at KPMG with approximately 50 per cent of women making up the staff ratio. They are focused towards a target of 30 per cent of women in Partnership by 2020. a
In 2017, Westpac reached their target of having 50 per cent leadership roles held by women and are on track to having the Westpac Group Board held by 30 per cent women.
At Westpac, policies have been put in place to ensure that there is 50 per cent of women on recruitment shortlists for leadership roles and that 50 per cent of high potential program and graduate program participants are women.
Westpac has been at the forefront with regards to parental leave; offering paid parental leave since 1995. In 1998 they introduced paid partner leave. Westpac has a range of flexibility options to suit the family.
For over ten years Westpac has received the Employer of Choice for Gender Equity Citation which is no surprise considering Westpac was the first of the big four banks to have a female CEO back in 2008 and they’ve been leading the way ever since.
National Australia Bank
NAB made a commitment to gender equity back in 2011, and although there is still some way to go to reach the 50/50 in 2020, NAB has certainly made progress and are likely to reach their targets, if not before the deadline.
From leadership and graduate roles to targeted programs for career development, NAB is a very supportive environment of women. Permanent NAB staff with the company for over 12 months are entitled to 12-weeks paid primary carers leave or 24 weeks half pay, man or woman. They even have their own social network for parents where parents can join to share their wins and frustrations. NAB is known for providing flexible work options too, particularly for parents, because they want to be able to retain talented workers. Flexible work options include job sharing, working from home, flexible start and finish times and extended leave.
These are just six of the best places to work in Australia for women, examples of organisations who have our backs. If you’re looking for a job, consider these places first. If your daughter has graduated and looking for a job, consider these companies for a graduate program. The reality is, gender equity in the workplace isn’t happening quickly but at least I do hope it will happen for my daughter.
What’s your experience been like with equity in the workplace? Was your employer good or bad?
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I love that these workplaces are committed to gender equality. I mean it should just be a given but unfortunately we still have a long way to go!
Di from Max The Unicorn